Bullying boy scouts

Maggie Gallagher
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Posted: Aug 24, 2000 12:00 AM
Gay rights activists this week took aim against that grave threat to their life, liberties and pursuit of happiness ... the Boy Scouts. The protests planned for 21 states around the country were sparsely attended, but the sanctimonious self-righteousness of the participants was undaunted: "We want companies and organizations and cities to withdraw funding from the Boy Scouts and support youth organizations that don't discriminate against gays and gay youth," Edgar Rodriguez, New York City organizer of Scouting for All, told CNSNews.com.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., has taken the lead in the political front, introducing legislation repealing the Boy Scouts' federal charter, an honorary designation given to the organization in 1916. Scouting for All takes credit for getting several local United Way chapters to withdraw funding.

No doubt that means that fewer poor boys go camping this year, but hey, when you've been appointed by, well, by yourself, really, to guard the nation's moral fiber, to see that truth, justice, tolerance and inclusion reign over every nook and cranny of the land, well, that's just the price you have to pay. Or at any rate, the price the kids have to pay.

This is bullying, pure and simple. Scouting for All wants to exclude Boy Scouts from the schools and church halls of the land, unless they agree to adopt the sexual views of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "They've got to learn that people won't stand for this discrimination," said John Schuppan, a former Scout from Columbia, Mo. "We're going to work to change their position and to get groups that support them to put pressure on the national council. ... We don't want to close the Boy Scouts, but we do want them to change."

Eagle Scout and Scouting for All co-founder Steven Cozza is only 15 years old, but he knows the moral change that must sweep the land. "Someone's sexuality has nothing to do with his character or personality," he said with supreme confidence.

Sex has nothing to do with character, and if you think that you must be silenced, humiliated, reformed and re-educated. Especially if you think -- or worse, dare to try to teach your children -- that men and women are made for each other, and that sex outside of marriage between men and women is wrong. I don't expect every person in America to hold this view. It's a free country. But I do expect that in a free country, a person or a group can hold to this standard without being made social pariahs, or called nasty names, such as "bigot."

Meanwhile, in Florida, an 8-year-old girl was banned from singing "Kum Ba Yah" at the North Port Boys & Girls day camp talent show. She had practiced all week, but the staff showed no mercy, serenely certain that higher moral principles were at stake, such as, well, tolerance and inclusion. Bill Sadlo, director of operations, told Associated Press: "We don't want to take the chance of a child offending another child's religion."

"We just can't allow any religious songs," pontificated Randy Bouck, the local club's director. "You have to check your religion at the door."

Welcome to tolerance, 21st-century style. And oh yes, the Supreme Court decision that Boy Scouts are a private group that cannot be forced to adopt others' moral views? That was a 5-4 decision. Don't forget to vote this November.